NEW YORK -- Jones Apparel Group will launch a dress division in March under the Rena Rowan for Saville Dress label.
Helen Merrill, formerly president of the designer and bridge dress divisions of Depeche Mode, has been named president of the division. Jones also produces Rena Rowan for Saville Suits, Sportswear and Sport.
Rena Rowan, who is executive vice president of Jones, will oversee design for the collections, as she does for all Jones divisions.
Merrill said the collection will "offer the working woman affordable dresses with a classic attitude." She said the styling will be "young, updated and clean," with strong emphasis on novelty details.
Aimed at the lower to mid-range of the better-price market, the collection will wholesale for $59 to $79, featuring day and day-to-dinner looks, Merrill said. The prices are about 25 to 30 percent below the company's other dress division -- Jones New York Dress -- which opened in 1992.
"With the enormous success of Jones New York Dress to date, we have every reason to believe that Saville Dress will be a major and immediate success," said Sidney Kimmel, chairman of Jones.
Merrill said it is premature to make a first-year projection, but said there is "strong potential for major distribution."
The company noted in its latest annual report that Jones New York Dress recorded sales of $6.6 million in its first six months.
Merrill said the line will be made domestically and overseas. Key fabrics will include wool crepe, printed silks, silk georgette and a variety of novelty cloths.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"